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Murders by Caregiver
People that are responsible for the care of a person of any age that have intentionally caused the death of that person.
One of the questions that these murders raise is related to other forms of "euthanasia" and withholding care.
Dameria Lawhorn, 51, has been charged with seven counts of elder abuse for allegedly overdosing seven patients with morphine.
Caregiver serial killers probably may be responsible for more deaths each year than the transient sexual psychopath serial killers that receive much more public attention. Nevertheless, there has been little serious work profiling this group of murderers.
September 08, 2009
For Immediate Release
Contact: (916) 324-5500
Contact: Scott Gerber or Evan Westrup, (510) 622-4500
- Gwen Hughes, the former Director of Nursing at the skilled nursing facility of the Kern Valley Healthcare District in Lake Isabella, Kern County on charges of elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon.
- Debbi Hayes, the former pharmacist at the Valley Healthcare District, on charges of elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon. On August 14, 2009, Hayes pled no contest to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit an act injurious to public health. She is a cooperating witness for the people.
- Dr. Hoshang Pormir, a staff physician at Kern Valley Healthcare District, who was serving as the medical director of the skilled nursing facility, on charges of elder abuse.
As the Administrator of the Kern Valley Health Care District, Ott hired and supervised Director of Nursing Gwen Hughes.
Upon taking over in September 2006, Hughes ordered that Alzheimer's and other dementia patients be given high doses of psychotropic medications to make them more tranquil and easy to control. She ordered the administration of these medications to patients who argued with her, were noisy, or who were otherwise disruptive. Two patients who resisted were held down and forcibly given injections. Ms. Ott was informed of these actions and allowed them to continue.
Hughes is also alleged to have directed Debbi Hayes, the hospital pharmacist, to fill prescriptions for psychotropic medications. Hayes wrote and filled these prescriptions without first obtaining a doctor's approval.
Dr. Pormir approved these psychotropic medications only some time after they had been administered and without examining the patients first and determining whether these psychotropic medications were medically necessary.
Several of these patients are alleged to have had medical complications as a result of being given these psychotropic medications, including lethargy and the inability to eat or drink properly. It is believed that three patients died and one patient suffered great bodily injury as a result.
Kern Valley Healthcare District operates a small community hospital and skilled nursing facility in Lake Isabella. The case came to the attention of authorities in January 2007, when an ombudsman reported to the Bakersfield office of the California Department of Public Health that a patient in the skilled nursing facility had been held down and given an injection of psychotropic medication by force.
The Department of Public Health immediately sent an investigative team with a doctor, a nurse, and a doctor of pharmacology. They determined that 22 patients, including some who were suffering from Alzheimer's at the skilled nursing facility, were being given high doses of psychotropic medication not for therapeutic reasons, but to simply control and quiet them for the convenience of the staff.
The Department of Public Health issued a Certificate of Immediate Jeopardy which resulted in the immediate dismissal of the Ms. Hughes. The matter was then turned over to the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse.
Special Agents from the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse began a year-long investigation, with the co-operation and assistance of the Department of Public Health and the administration of the Kern Valley Healthcare District.
A search warrant was served on the facility in August 2008, resulting in the seizure of numerous medical files and records.
If convicted, all defendants could face up to 11 years in prison.
The case is being prosecuted by the Attorney General's Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, with the co-operation and assistance of the Kern County District Attorney's Office.
To view the news releases issued February 2009 about this case, go to http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/release.php?id=1682&.
To report elder abuse or Medi-Cal fraud, call the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse's hotline at (800) 722-0432.
The complaints are attached.
# # #You may view the full account of this posting, including possible attachments, in the News & Alerts section of our website at: http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/release.php?id=1798
Last Updated Friday, Mar 27 2009 01:21 PM
In one allegation, nursing home resident Opal Towery was injected with anti-psychotic drugs after an argument with the nursing director and spent the next week in a zombielike state.
In another, Louise Zimmerman was pinned down by four staffers and injected with the same drugs because she was biting, hitting and kicking others. She never regained full consciousness.
Those were among the disturbing stories in a criminal complaint filed by the California Attorney General’s office that led to the arrests Wednesday of three current and former employees of the Kern Valley Healthcare District’s skilled nursing facility.
The complaint alleges a nursing director, pharmacist and physician drugged at least 22 elderly residents with mood-altering medications to quiet and control them, leading to the deaths of three.
The alleged druggings occurred between August 2006 and January 2007.
“These are powerful medications that were given, in some cases against people’s will, primarily for management, not health reasons,” Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. said. “It's unconscionable behavior and it’s certainly not what people expect when they entrust their parents or grandparents to a skilled nursing home.”
District officials declined to comment but released a statement saying they fully cooperated with the investigation and have taken corrective action. Subsequent inspections have found no significant problems, the statement said.
• Gwen Hughes, 55, the former director of nursing.
• Debbi Gayle Hayes, 51, the facility’s former pharmacist.
• Dr. Hoshang M. Pormir, 48, a staff physician at Kern Valley Healthcare District, who was medical director of the skilled nursing facility.
Hughes and Hayes face eight felony charges of causing harm or death to an elder or dependent adult and two felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon through overmedication.
Pormir faces eight felony charges of causing harm or death to an elder or dependent adult.
They were being held at the Kern County Jail in Bakersfield. Hughes and Hayes were held on $450,000 bail. Pormir was held on $400,000 bail.
If convicted, the three face up to 11 years in prison.
declined to be interviewed. Hayes and Pormir did not respond to
The 27-page complaint describes interviews with facility nurses and medical experts who say Hughes ordered certain patients to receive high and unnecessary doses of anti-psychotic drugs.
Pharmacist Hayes followed her orders, telling investigators she thought Hughes was knowledgeable in the treatment of psychiatric conditions. Pormir, the physician, signed off on the orders after the drugs were administered, according to the interviews.
They say Hughes’ orders often came after residents acted out or complained, and were often administered without patient consent. At least two residents were forcibly injected; a third had psychotropic drugs sprinkled on her food.
The investigation found none of the residents received a medical exam or diagnosis prior to receiving the powerful doses.
Samuel Obair II, a pharmacist who assisted with the investigation, called the situation “beyond appalling,” saying it was “the first time that I have ever run into this severity where it affected so many individuals and was being done so blatantly,” according to the documents.
situation came to the attention of authorities in January 2007, when an
unnamed healthcare ombudsman filed a complaint after seeing Zimmerman
held down and forcibly injected with drugs.
THE ALLEGED VICTIMS
The attorney general’s investigation identified three residents believed to have died as a result of being drugged and neglected:
• Fannie May Brinkley died Dec. 23, 2006, after receiving Depakote, a drug to treat mood disorders. After not eating for six days, she was rushed to the emergency room, where she died.
• Eddie Dolenc was given unnecessary anti-psychotic medication that caused him to become extremely sedated, and unable to eat or drink. He died one month after being admitted to the facility, likely from dehydration or pneumonia.
• Joseph Shepter went to the emergency room on Jan. 14, 2007, for dehydration and died five hours later. He had been given three anti-psychotic drugs.
Phyllis Peters, Brinkley’s daughter, has filed a personal injury suit against the facility. Her attorney, Daniel Rodriguez, said Peters noticed her mother was dehydrated and losing weight but was never told by facility staff that her mother was receiving the drugs.
family entrusted their mother and grandmother to this hospital — to
this nursing facility,” Rodriguez said.
In addition to the three deaths, the drugged residents suffered serious side effects ranging from severe lethargy that inhibited eating and drinking for long periods to weight loss, drooling and incoherence, the complaint said.
People interviewed by investigators pinned most of the blame on nursing director Hughes, who was fired in 1999 from a Fresno nursing home after the state cited the facility for over-medicating patients.
Hughes was dismissed from Kern Valley Healthcare District in January 2007, when the attorney general’s investigation began.
Nurses at the Kern Valley facility said the drugging of patients began when Hughes was hired. She held “interdisciplinary team meetings” in which she and the staff discussed residents' behavior and Hughes told the pharmacist what drugs to prescribe, the nurses told investigators.
When the nurses objected or raised concerns, Hughes threatened to fire them and have their nursing license revoked, they said.
Several nurses left the facility during Hughes’ tenure. One nurse told investigators she was so distraught by the situation that she was on the verge of “a nervous breakdown.”
Steve Muni, a deputy attorney general on the case, said a Kern Valley Healthcare District hospital administrator lost her job over the case.
“We did not press charges against her, feeling that there may be civil or administrative” action, he said.
After her dismissal from the Kern Valley facility, Hughes was hired by Mercy Hospitals as a nurse. Mercy spokeswoman Sandy Doucette said Hughes was employed from February 2007 to April 23, 2007.
She has a clear nursing record and no actions against her, according to the state consumer affairs Web site for registered nurses.
— Californian columnist Lois Henry contributed to this report.
Healers in title only that Kill - A disturbing number of serial killers are found in the medical profession, making victims of the very patients who entrust the twisted healers with their lives. The reasons for their choice of a career in medicine (and murder) are admittedly complex, but one advantage is the ready-made supply of victims - often weak and helpless, sometimes even comatose - who are presented daily to the medical professional.
Medical experts never testified in Katrina hospital deaths
All five concluded that as many as nine patients were victims of homicide.
mirrored for historical purposes at http://medicalserialkillers.kaiserpapers.org/katrina.html
Swiss Nurse Is Sentenced for 22 Murders - January 29,2005
36-year-old Roger Andermatt, a Swiss nurse has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering 22 nursing home patients over a six-year period.
ER DOCTOR IN FORT WORTH FOUND GUILTY IN PATIENT'S DEATH
Court TV's Library of Male Nurses that Kill and a section on Female Nurses that Kill
Nurse 'tried to kill patients' - April 28, 2004
Barbara Salisbury worked as a ward sister.
A hospital nurse accused of attempting to murder four elderly patients was motivated by a drive to free up beds, a court has heard.
Family Crusade Brings Exhumation in Case of Suspect Nurse (Charles Cullen Victim)
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA Published: January 22, 2004
Nurse Charged After Patient Deaths Claim December 2003
Charles Cullen, 43, told authorities he administered drug overdoses to put "very sick" patients out of their misery over the last 16 years in nine hospitals and a nursing home in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Doctor charged over '95 mercy killing
potassium choride murder case
further information at: http://www.eubios.info/EJ85/ej85b.htm
Greed called motive for woman's death in San Jose
Officials to exhume body in investigation of nurse Peggy S. Couse, employee of Twin City Healthcare.
Dr. Asuncion M. Luyao, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, with two additional counts of manslaughter arising out of the overdose deaths of her patients.
Christine Malèvre RN jailed in six patient deaths
Nurse, Ted Maher, convicted murderer of billionaire banker Edmond Safra
Here is the other side of the Safra Murder case citing the innocence of Ted Maher.
Man pleads guilty in killing of Canyon Lake woman - Beverly Manor Story
New twist in Iowa nursing home death
Christine Lee Ann Helen Van Oort, 26, of Rock Valley had willfully, deliberately and with premeditation killed retired Rock Valley farmer Dick Post April 16 at the Valley Manor Nursing home, according to a court document filed late Thursday by Sioux County Attorney Melissa O'Rourke.
2 doctors accused of murder by poor treatment face trial
John Walter Bardgett - John Walter Bardgett boasting in a recorded telephone conversation that he knew better than the doctors how to ease patients’ last days.
Nurses tied to Insurance Murder - Three nurses accused of insurance murder also attempted to kill and rob the mother of their friend two years ago by injecting her with insulin, police said
Ex-nursing home operator, official are convicted in elderly abuse case - Charles B. Kaiser III, get the maximum sentence of a $1,000 fine and one year in the county jail
Update of Charles B. Kaiser III and Nurse's aide Karl Willard convicted of Elder Abuse
Nurse accused of killing 13 patients insists she's innocent as trial ends
July 18, 2002 - Nurses in Missouri and Texas Charged With Killing Patients
Friday, June 14, 2002 - Imprisoned ManorCare nurse sued in civil court
Charges were filed against Daillyn Pavia, 30, of Granite City, Ill., in the death of Julia Dawson
The Shipman Inquiry - An Independent Public Inquiry Into the Issues Arising from the case of Harold Frederick Shipman
Mom accused of killing sons at nursing home - 2002
Richard Williams - VA Nurse Killer
Caregiver charged with murder of elderly woman
MARIETTA -- An 83-year-old woman was beaten to death by a caregiver at her assisted-living home after wetting the bed
and keeping the staff up at night, police said.
Fairbanks police: Caregiver kept murder victim in slum-like home
FAIRBANKS - Weeks before his death David Haynes was living in slum-like conditions without running water while his
unlicensed care givers had full access to his bank account, according to Fairbanks Police.
Caregiver or killer?
NORTHAMPTON - Her patients were weakened soldiers who had marched against Hitler, battled Tojo in the South Pacific,
or risked the terror of bamboo prisons along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Caregiver says woman died of natural causes
CARSON CITY -- A Carson City caregiver accused of killing a 79-year-old woman in a bizarre slaying case says she was afraid to notify authorities that the victim had died of natural causes.
and Elderly man who shot ailing wife under house arrest
Son confesses to his mom's mercy killing
The confession of a caregiver that he killed his terminally ill mother last February has Kitsap County officials scrambling to investigate.
Jane Toppan who confessed to killing 31 and is believed by some experts to have killed 70 to 100 people
as a student nurse, and nurse's aide around the turn of the century is quoted as saying, "That is my ambition, to have killed
more people,more helpless peopleQthan any man or woman who has ever lived."
Elder Abuse - The Ultimate Crime
Caregiver sentenced to 6 years in prison
Susan Foster, convicted of neglecting an elderly woman so badly that the woman died
Nurse that killed for money and self named "Angels of Death"
Killing for money is a mundane motive, but it makes more sense than those nurses who promise to nurture and heal, and then kill for excitement.
Medical staff 'kill' patients for a fee from undertakers
The Polish authorities have ordered an investigation into accusations that medical staff may have killed patients to collect bribes from undertakers desperate for business.
Citations, small fines imposed after state investigations
Dangerous Care: Nurses' Hidden Role in Medical Error or is it really error?
When bed rails kill, families go untold
SUMMARY OF ABANDONMENT - Attrition
Nurses' Participation in the Nazi Euthanasia Programs
Synopsis of the various types of caregivers that murder their patients and their reasons.
Medical Serial Killers http://www.qozi.com/murder/
Title: Murder Resources
Description: murder related news, books and web resources